Atlantic City May Avert Shutdown by Extending Worker Pay Periodby
City Council may vote Wednesday on measure for 28-day period
State lawmakers push bill to take over city's operations
Atlantic City’s council may consider a measure to lengthen employee pay periods as a way to avert an unprecedented shutdown of non-essential services amid a standoff between New Jersey officials over providing state assistance.
The distressed gaming hub would avoid temporarily ceasing services Friday by paying workers every 28 days instead of every two weeks, under a resolution on the council’s agenda for Wednesday. Mayor Don Guardian had warned last month that without state assistance, the city would run out of money in April until tax collections trickle in during May.
Extending the pay period doesn’t shore up the city’s cash for long. By June, “something will need to be done,” said Council President Marty Small.
Governor Chris Christie had rejected measures that would have diverted gambling funds to the city, which created a $33.5 million hole in its budget. Christie is pushing legislation with the Senate’s Democratic leader that would allow New Jersey to take over the city, but it has been stalled in the lower house.
Thirteen Assemblymen from southern New Jersey signed a letter Sunday to Speaker Vincent Prieto to put the measure to a vote, saying a fiscal collapse of the city could hurt the region. Prieto said he opposes the bill’s provision that would let the administration change or end labor contracts.
The Local Finance Board, which has been overseeing Atlantic City’s finances, must approve any bankruptcy filing. Christie has said he opposes a bankruptcy petition.